be a big-time pitcher for the D’backs? Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
I can’t wait for the 2015 season to begin. I look forward to seeing the new and improved Arizona Diamondbacks. A new regime brings new optimism and hope that 2015 will be much better than 2014. However, I also am looking beyond this year as I reflect on all of the arms the team has assembled through the draft and through acquisitions this offseason. In short, if these pitchers as a collective unit can live up to 75% of what is expected, the D’backs’ organization should be well-positioned to keep pace in a rugged National League West over the coming years.
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Braden Shipley, Archie Bradley and Aaron Blair are all on the cusp of reaching the Majors. Robbie Ray, Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster have already experienced life in the Show. Patrick Corbin was an All-Star and though injured, should come back later next year. What do all of these players have in common? They are all 25 years old and under (De La Rosa turns 26 in March) with all of them competing for a spot in the team’s rotation, barring another move. This doesn’t include Jeremy Hellickson, a former Rookie of the Year and Touki Toussaint, last year’s #1 pick who is around three years away.
I just named a total of nine pitchers. If the D’backs hit on just four of them, that shapes up to be a pretty solid rotation. Let’s be realistic. There is no way all nine of them will be stars for the franchise. Some will bomb, others will get traded and one or two of them will be no more than a Triple A pitcher. That’s just the law of averages when dealing with Major League pitching. For the pitcher or two gets traded, he will indirectly benefit the organization by bringing back something that it can use.
It is impossible to figure out which pitcher will have the greatest Major League success. Let’s look at the Mets. Before 2014, the big names were Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Rafael Montero. Did anyone hear of Jacob deGrom? Harvey was one of the best pitchers in baseball before Tommy John surgery. We’ll see if he can be the pitcher he was. Wheeler had some brilliant moments and overall did well. Montero didn’t really distinguish himself in ten games last year. For all the hype on Syndergaard, he hasn’t thrown a Major League pitch. DeGrom is the one who had the best season, culminating as the National League Rookie of the Year. Which D’back has the ability to replicate him?
Spring Training can’t get here fast enough.